“The Imitation Game” is an interesting mixture of biopic, drama, thriller, and (historic) war movie. By far my favorite part was the third act, after Alan Turing finally broke the Enigma code, and the question arises how – or even if – they’re supposed to react on the information that the machine gives them. Which attacks to prevent and which to allow. It’s a fascinating moral dilemma, and I wouldn’t have minded if the movie would have elaborated even further on that. However, I also loved the parts that focused on Turing’s homosexuality, especially the epilogue with Joan Clarke’s visit. Apart from that insulting “Today, we call them computers”-line, I also really loved the ending, and was quite moved by it.
Benedict Cumberbatch is exceptional in the role. Then again, there’s probably no other modern actor who can play intelligence, arrogance and social ineptitude quite as well and as convincing as him. And while I have to admit that I had some problems initially to blank out his Sherlock interpretation (especially at the beginning; his job interview felt especially sherlocky to me), as the movie went along he focused more and more on Turing’s softer and vulnerable side (one that we hardly got to see from Sherlock, at least so far), and by the end, all thoughts of Sherlock were pushed from my mind. It’s a stellar performance that overshadows everyone and everything else – with the possible exception of Keira Knightley, who continues her recent streak of strong performances in supporting roles. Morten Tyldum’s direction is solid (if nothing special), and Alexandre Desplat’s score quite effective. Nevertheless, “The Imitation Game” didn’t quite reach the same heights for me as that other big biopic of this years oscar race, “The Theory of Everything”. I felt that the first two thirds dragged along just a little bit. There were a couple of supposedly tense scenes that didn’t quite work to me, since everyone who’s even slighty familiar with the subject matter knows that Turing and his group were ultimately successful – thus the threats of turning off his machine didn’t really do much for me. Still, if you’re interested in Alan Turing, computers, cryptography and/or history, this is definitely a game worth playing.